How to Move Internationally in 2023

During the past few years, COVID and the national policies around the pandemic have added to the intricacies of moving overseas. Fortunately, most restrictions have now been lifted—and, now that vaccines are more widely distributed, people planning to move internationally have been able to return their focus to the best destinations for their family.

Additionally, there has been good news for your relocation budget: most of the elevated freight rates have somewhat stabilized in 2023. Access to 20-foot and 40-foot containers has become easier, minimizing additional and unnecessary costs. Finally, door to door transit times appear to be returning to pre pandemic levels to ease the burden on length of time temporary living is required at destination.

You’ll need a relocation partner to help with logistics and other considerations for your move. People come to Suddath for exactly that reason, allowing us to handle some of the trickier aspects to focus on building their new life in a new country.

Internationally Moving in a Post-Vaccine World

There are still a few policies in existence to consider, depending on your destination. As of Spring 2023, Brazil still requires all passengers arriving by air to either present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test. As another example, in Nicaragua, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers entering the country—regardless of age—must show a negative RT-PCR COVID test within seventy-two hours before the entry.

Conversely, on April 29, 2023, Japan lifted border measures, no longer requiring a valid COVID vaccine certification or negative test, as did the United States mid-month in May 2023

Overall, COVID restrictions are much less of a factor than at the peak of the pandemic. That said, it’s important to research what they are in your destination and plan for that.

Documentations and Visas

Make sure you have the required documentation to enter. Research what’s needed for your destination; locate the documents; and have them in a secure central place, ready for moving day, to save yourself valuable time. This includes your family’s birth certificates (or adoption papers), Social Security cards, and passports along with these documents:

  • Marriage licenses, divorce papers, and child custody papers if relevant.
  • Driver’s licenses: you may need an international license to buy or rent a car in your new country.
  • Insurance paperwork: if you don’t have any car insurance claims, get a document that states that to give to your overseas car insurance company to get appropriate discounts.
  • Medical and dental records, including insurance cards and prescriptions: this will include your medical histories, immunization records, and any disability records.
  • School records: this is important if anyone will attend school in the new country.
  • Financial records: pack bank statement copies, especially if you don’t have online access. Some countries may require you to prove a certain amount of savings before being allowed to move there. Also have copies of your income tax filings and any business documentation for a company you own.
  • Legal documents such as wills, trusts, health and medical power of attorney, living wills, and other important notarized documents.
  • Work permits, custom forms, and other relevant documents.

Make copies of all necessary documents for each family member who will be relocating internationally. Then, store them in easy to access yet secure locations. Once you have everything together, apply for a visa or residence permit.

Visas and Residence Permits

A country must grant people permission to live in their jurisdiction, and specifics can vary by locale. So, just like with any other aspect of moving internationally, you’ll want to gain clarity on this country’s requirements.

In general, people are required to obtain a visa in advance (and, even if a country doesn’t, this is highly recommended). Some countries may grant someone entry with a passport while others may allow visas to be issued at their airport but, again, this is not recommended.

A visa will be valid for a predetermined amount of time—perhaps for only weeks or months before the person would need to apply for an extension. A visa could come with restrictions.

To actually set up residence in another country, you will likely want more significant documentation such as a residence permit. This document would typically allow you to live in the country of choice for a predetermined number of years before being renewed.

Residence permits allow you to enter and remain in the country without the need for a visa. You can typically live in that country year-round and do things like, opening bank accounts there, buying real estate, attending universities, and obtaining medical care.

Often, when someone in a family applies for resident status, and it’s approved, the permit can also be obtained by the spouse and perhaps civil partner, minor children, and financially dependent parents. Again, rules can vary by country, so investigate.

People with resident permits who decide to live in the country, long-term, can apply for permanent residence status. Typically, to gain this status, someone would need to live in the country for a certain number of years. Permanent residents usually have most but not all of the rights of citizens.

Housing Options

The international housing market was upended by the pandemic just like it was in the United States. So, if you’d investigated housing options before the pandemic and are just returning to the quest, what you find may not be the same as when you initially considered moving abroad.

For a while, at least in the United States, real estate prices trended downwards in cities—which may have also applied in your country of interest. In many advanced economies, though, housing prices rebounded when “expansionary fiscal and monetary policies [were] introduced to revive economic activity.” More recently, in 2023, housing markets are once again retreating, globally. In countries tracked by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), two-thirds of countries showed pricing declines even when accounting for inflation. This trend, the IMF notes, just underscores “how housing markets are adjusting to rising interest rates as central banks try to contain inflation.”

If there’s a theme in this guide, however, it’s to do your own research to avoid surprises and to glean information that’s specific to your destination country. Start as early as is reasonable so you can have a clear understanding of your housing budget and what accommodations would be within this budget.

Moving With Pets

Just like your family will need documentation, so will pets that you’re going to move overseas. You’ll need to discover what the restrictions and requirements are for the destination country.

Australia and New Zealand, for example, restrict birds, ferrets, and the American pit bull terrier. Others have strict requirements about pet immunizations, provided within a certain timeframe, and your pet may undergo quarantine when you arrive. You’ll likely need your pet to be cleared from your veterinarian in your origin country and get an international health certificate to present in your destination country. Also discuss what kind of pet carrier will be needed during transportation time for your pet on the airline or ship.

A Note About International Moves

Workforces around the globe were already evolving towards more remote and hybrid structures, a trend that the pandemic reinforced. It’s unlikely that “going back to normal,” post-pandemic, will ever involve returning to the traditional in-office setting to the degree that it once was.

Because of this, increasing numbers of people who have long imagined moving to another country may decide that now is the time. Said another way, remote work opens up the concept of location independence, a trend that has already spurred plenty of moving across the United States—one that has applications to international moving as well.

If your destination country of choice is seeing more influx because of remote work—or for any other reason—it may take more time for paperwork to be processed. So, start early!

Timeless International Moving Advice

Although making an international move in 2023 will have unique characteristics, many elements of overseas relocations today will be similar to ones over the years. Here are just a few of them.

Tax Laws

When moving to another country, you may well need to pay taxes in that location as well as your country of origin. You’ll want to discuss your specific situation with an accountant, discovering more about your destination country’s tax laws and how to navigate filing taxes in two different countries if applicable.

Healthcare System

Your health insurance plan may not be accepted in your new country with that country’s health insurance system possibly operating quite differently. So, you’ll need to investigate the local system in your new home and whether you qualify for any of the coverage. You may decide to purchase international health insurance and, if moving because of a job, your employer may help to cover the costs.

Also find out if your prescription medications will be available in the new location; sometimes, they may not even be permitted. If they won’t be available to you, create an alternate plan to address your health condition.


Talk to your current financial institution to see if they have affiliates in your destination country. If not, find out how to efficiently open a bank account in your new home; the advent of online banking has made this much easier. Also consider getting an international credit card to avoid paying any foreign transaction fees.

Cell Phones

Ask your current provider if they offer services in other countries. If this isn’t a good option, get your cell phone unlocked and, when arriving in your new home, buy a local SIM card and replace your current one.

Language and Culture

To more smoothly fit into your new home, learn the language as best you can if you don’t already speak it. Take classes or use a language learning app. You’ll also want to learn about the country’s history and culture; etiquette rules; culinary traditions; and so forth. This will help to reduce culture shock.


Shred documents with personal information that you won’t need anymore and discard old items. Sell or donate household belongings that still have value but aren’t ones you want to take with you, dropping off hazardous items at appropriate locations.

Furniture Fit

Once you’ve gotten a home in your destination country, consider its dimensions and whether your belongings will fit, space wise. Consider door widths and issues with stairs as you make decisions. There’s no point in transporting furniture that you can’t use overseas.

Choose an Experienced International Moving Company

International relocations, no pun intended, come with plenty of moving parts that will need to be seamlessly navigated. Having experienced international movers, fortunately, will help to significantly streamline the process so you can focus on building a new life in your new country.

You’ll want to plan early and book early, working with a well-established, financially sound FIDI Plus mover. When deciding between international moving companies, ask friends and family members who have moved out of the United States for recommendations. Or, if moving because of a job, ask your employer.

Support Documentation

Your Suddath salesperson will supply all the information you need to understand what is required and what is allowable for moving to your new home. Not just moving your household goods but pets and autos as well.

Available Fact Sheets:

International moving guide: everything you need to know and how to plan.

Prohibited items list: what cannot be shipped either in a container or allowed at destination.

Container fact sheet: dimensions and types of containers available.

Shipping your car overseas: can I take it? What shipping options are available?

Moving your pet overseas: all you need to know about moving the furry members of the family.

Country specific customs regulations: important to know to avoid substantial delays and costs.

Simply inquire with your international move coordinator or salesperson, and they can provide you with the most up-to-date information available.

Suddath as Your International Movers

Choosing the right overseas moving company can save time, money, and stress as they manage intricate logistics throughout the relocation—something that newer international moving companies may not navigate as well.

Our company has more than a century of experience in moving families like yours, an FIDI Plus mover of choice. To streamline your move, our international movers will do the following:

  • Verify your move size and packing dates, and the access conditions in your home.
  • Create a moving plan based on your specific requirements that includes optimal door and floor protection.
  • Determine what belongings will need custom crating.
  • Provide you with a personalized, free quote for your international relocation that includes coordinating custom requirements and working with your destination partner agent.
  • Answer all your questions.

Next up: you’ll approve the estimate. Then, we’ll assign you an experienced, dedicated, and professional single point of contact to serve as your move counselor throughout the entire process. You can review our international packing services to determine exactly what you need, and your move counselor will coordinate the relocation day for you.

Our overseas moving company will ship your belongings to your destinate country and handle customs clearances for you. By now, the Suddath partner agent will be managing the process as your household goods are delivered and unpacked with care and documentation handled. All of our services are managed with a compliant, verified supply chain.

Our international moving company will be in touch with you afterwards to make sure that everything has been satisfactorily handled. Get started on your international move with an easy, free quote!